Monday, September 29, 2014

Ripe Persimmon Muffins #MuffinMonday

With a botanical name that means food of the gods, persimmons have lofty aspirations. They come in two main varieties, the Fuyus which are still somewhat crunchy like an apple when ripe and the Hachiyas which aren’t edible until they are soft with the sweet pulp almost bursting out of their taut orange skins. That pulp is the most gorgeous color and is splendid in baking, especially muffins. Some say the flavor is like pumpkin, but it puts me in mind of the idyllic, albeit fictional, marriage between an apple and a ripe peach. 

Got any muffin ideas for me?
So I’ve been at this muffin-baking thing for a while now. In fact, if I have counted correctly, this is my 124th muffin recipe baked and photographed for this space. I firmly believe that if flavors go together nicely, they are going to make a nice muffin. I have a list about 12 or 15 ideas long for future muffins, both sweet and savory, but I am always on the lookout for new ideas or ingredients.

Enter, the persimmon. 
The persimmons I have eaten before are the short, squat type (Fuyu) that are bright orange but kind of crunchy. From the top, they look the same as the large basketful that caught my eye at the market here last week, but when I reached in to choose a couple, the skins gave way, even in my gentle grip. These persimmons were clearly on their way out! And they were oval, not short and squat. Intriguing. I’m not that easily discouraged, so I chose the least mushy ones and brought them home. A quick internet search revealed that it’s "the mushier, the better" for this oval variety (Hachiya) so I let them soften all the way, before peeling them and mashing the pulp for muffins.

Two Hachiya persimmons yielded about a cup and a half of pulp.



Ingredients
For the muffins:
2 cups or 250g flour
1/2 cup or 100g sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
1 cup or 260g ripe persimmon pulp, mashed
1/2 cup or 120ml canola or other light oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the topping:
1/2 cup or 130g ripe persimmon pulp
1/4 cup or 50g sugar
Pinch salt

Method
Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and grease your 12-cup muffin pan or line it with paper liners.

If you haven’t already, peel and mash your persimmons.



In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.



In another bowl, whisk together the persimmon pulp, oil, egg and vanilla extract.



Pour your wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold them together until just mixed.



Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.



Bake in the preheated oven about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook your topping ingredients in a small pot over a medium heat until the mixture reduces and thicken slightly. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.



When the muffins are completely cool, spoon a little of the persimmon topping on each. If it has thickened up too much to spoon, warm it slightly or add just a few drops of water and stir.



Enjoy!




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